Finalists for $60,000 Literary Award Named
TORONTO, Sept. 20, 2011 /CNW/ - The Writers' Trust of Canada announced
today five finalists for this year's Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize
for Nonfiction, the richest annual literary award for a book of
nonfiction published in Canada, and introduced an educational component
of the prize that seeks to provide Canadian high schools with resources
to connect young readers with the finalists and their work.
This year's nominees offer a collection of absorbing and enlivening
biographies and memoirs. Their subjects include a Glasgow-born Father
of Confederation; an iconic scribbler viewed by some as a bête noire of Canadian culture; the soggy and gritty details of the tree-planting
life; adventure in a family cabin on the rugged Canadian coast; and
what it is that makes life worth living.
The finalists are:
Charles Foran, Mordecai: The Life & Times (Knopf Canada)
Charlotte Gill, Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree Planting
Tribe (Greystone Books/David Suzuki Foundation)
Richard Gwyn, Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times; Volume Two:
1867-1891 (Random House Canada)
Grant Lawrence, Adventures in Solitude: What Not to Wear to a Nudist Potluck and Other
Stories from Desolation Sound (Harbour Publishing)
Ray Robertson, Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live (Biblioasis)
Each of the five finalists will receive $5,000, with the eventual prize
winner receiving a total of $60,000. The prize will be awarded in
Toronto at Koerner Hall at the Telus Centre for Performance and
Learning during an event and after-party on October 25.
Finalists were selected by a three-member jury composed of Brian Brett,
a writer and farmer from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia; Devyani
Saltzman, a writer and curator of literary programming for Toronto's
Luminato Festival; and Russell Wangersky, a writer and editorial-page
editor of the St. John's Telegram.
Popular CBC Radio and Television personalities announced the finalists
at a press conference attended by leading publishers and literary
agents. Held in the Conservatory Theatre of Toronto's Telus Centre for
Performance and Learning, the event featured Eleanor Wachtel, host of
CBC Radio One's Writers & Company, Nora Young, host of CBC Radio One's Spark, Dwight Drummond, host of CBC News Toronto, Laurie Brown, host of CBC Radio 2's The Signal, and Paul Kennedy, host of CBC Radio One's Ideas. Each read excerpts from the nominated books. In a surprise twist, the
five prize finalists joined the event from their homes via video.
As part of the education component of the prize, Mrs. Weston unveiled a
teaching resource booklet that will provide Canadian high-school
educators with a tool to introduce the writing and ideas of the prize
finalists to young readers. The booklet will be distributed to select
schools across the country.
"Having such deep admiration for the astonishing abilities of Canadian
writers I am honoured to play a part in celebrating these worthy
writers," said Mrs. Weston. "Our aim is to shine a spotlight on such
deserving artists and spread the word about their remarkable books to
readers in Canada and around the world."
"This prize is a tremendous vehicle for highlighting the extraordinary
talents of Canada's literary nonfiction community," said Peter Kahnert,
Writers' Trust Chair and senior vice-president, Raymond James Ltd. "The
Writers' Trust is extremely grateful to Mrs. Weston for her personal
support, leadership, and partnership in creating such a rich
opportunity for our writers."
About Hon. Hilary M. Weston, CM, OOnt
Hon. Hilary M. Weston served as the 26th lieutenant-governor of Ontario
from 1997 to 2002. As the Queen's representative in Ontario, Mrs.
Weston was responsible for the Crown's constitutional and
representational roles in the province. Since leaving public office,
Mrs. Weston has continued to pursue her diverse interests. She led
Renaissance ROM, the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural
history, transforming the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. She is a
trustee of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle and serves on the
board of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mrs. Weston is also a corporate
director of Wittington Investments and Selfridges Group Ltd. She has
also served as deputy chair of the board of Holt Renfrew, promoting
Canadian designers in the retailing business.
Mrs. Weston founded the Ireland Fund of Canada and remains a patron of
this non-denominational organization promoting peace in Ireland. Her
interests in homes and gardens resulted in the publication of In a Canadian Garden (1989) and At Home in Canada (1995). She served as first chancellor of
the Order of Ontario, was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in
2003, and is the recipient of six honorary degrees.
About the Prize
The prize is awarded for literary excellence in the category of
nonfiction, which includes, among other forms, personal or journalistic
essays, history, biography, memoirs, commentary, and criticism, both
social and political. Finalist works will, in the opinion of the jury,
demonstrate a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling
command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. This award succeeds
the Writers' Trust Nonfiction Prize, which was established in 1997.
About the Writers' Trust
The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to
advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a
portfolio of programs, including literary awards, financial grants,
scholarships, and a writers' retreat. Writers' Trust programming is
designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the
status of writers, and to create connections between writers and
readers. Canada's writers receive more financial support from the
Writers' Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or
foundation in the country.
SOURCE THE WRITERS' TRUST OF CANADA
For further information:
For more information and interview opportunities contact:
Sherry Naylor, MDG+Associates, 416-368-8253, firstname.lastname@example.org